Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to restore the Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj’s Samadhi along with the Krishna Dwara Mandir in Teri village of Karak district in two weeks’ time.
The Hindu temple was vandalised and set ablaze by hundreds of people on December 30.
Earlier, Pakistan’s chief justice, Gulzar Ahmed, who had taken suo motu notice of the attack on the place of worship, had said the Supreme Court would hear the case on January 5.
The chief justice took the action after minority lawmaker Ramesh Kumar briefed him about the temple being vandalised during their meeting in Karachi last week.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and Auqaf department have been directed to start the work immediately and submit a progress report in two weeks.
The chief justice also observed that the people who vandalised the temple should pay for its restoration.
The court has also asked for reports on the number of temples in Pakistan, encroachment on land belonging to the Auqaf department, and the steps taken by the authorities against land grab.
All temples in Pakistan come under the Auqaf department.
Earlier, the one-man commission on the rights of minorities at the Supreme Court submitted its report on the Karak temple vandalism. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle, a former police chief, had prepared the report.
The commission recommended a comprehensive investigation into the vandalism of the temple. Maulvi Sharif, the main suspect in the case, is believed to have incited people to carry out violence, the report said. It added that the record of the temple land at the time of Partition should be looked into.
The report also recommended that the home department should take steps to stop the entry of suspicious people inside the temple. Exemplary punishment should be handed out to suspects to prevent such incidents in the future, the report recommended.
The temple was first attacked and demolished in 1997. After intervention by the Supreme Court in 2015, the local community had agreed to its reconstruction.
Despite the reconstruction, there was a dispute over the land allocated to the temple. This also led to some misunderstanding between the temple supporters and local clerics.
After the latest incident, local police had detained at least 14 people.